Artists You Should Know: Wes and Eugene

Missed out on Flight of the Conchords tix? Cry no more…

Wes and Eugene

This Saturday, Wes and Eugene’s Cabinet of Wonders will take the stage at the High Noon Saloon for what’s sure to be an entertaining evening, to say the least! Have you already heard the buzz? Then grab your tickets here! Curious about just who these guys are? You’ve come to the right place!

Wesley Stace (born 22 October 1965) is a folk/pop singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name John Wesley Harding and who has called his style of music “folk noir” and “gangsta folk”. Under his real name, he has recently written two bestselling novels

His stage name is the same as the Bob Dylan’s 1968 album (and song) John Wesley Harding, for which Bob Dylan famously misspelled the outlaw’s name, adding a final ‘g’. The American gunfighting historical figure John Wesley Hardin was largely forgotten by 1965, when Johnny Cash wrote and recorded the song, “Hardin Wouldn’t Run.”

His influences include Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Davies, and Phil Ochs. He has been frequently compared to Elvis Costello, probably fueled in part by the fact that two members of his early band The Good Liars (Pete and Bruce Thomas) had been members of The Attractions. Harding was chosen by Springsteen as his first opening act in 20 years for his solo shows at the Berkeley Community Theatre in 1995.

Wesley Stace

Harding most often plays solo, or as a duo, but has also done concerts with various backing bands: The Good Liars, The Family Values, and, most recently, The Radical Gentlemen. His best-known work may be “I’m Wrong About Everything”, which was included on the soundtrack for High Fidelity. His cover of the Madonna song, “Like a Prayer” is also widely known. He has released 15 albums, and his most recent pop release Adam’s Apple was called “the finest album of his career” (All Music Guide), and “a dazzling piece of popcraft that shows wide range and real heart” (No Depression.)

He has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album Awake), Joan Baez, Peter Buck, Evan Dando, David Baddiel, Rick Moody, Scott MacCaughey and Robyn Hitchcock amongst others.

n 2005, he published his first novel, the critically acclaimed Misfortune, under his real name (Wesley Stace). It was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Misfortune was also chosen by Amazon as one of the Ten Best Novels of 2005, and was one of The Washington Post’s Books of the Year. Misfortune, translated as L’infortune, became a bestseller in France, and has also been translated into many languages including Hebrew, Chinese, and Japanese.

The movie rights to Misfortune were sold in 2008. His 2005 album Songs of Misfortune comprises songs written for, or appearing in, that book, and was one of Amazon’s Top Ten Folk records of the year. His second novel, By George, was released on August 22, 2007 to numerous positive reviews; it was one of the New York Public Library’s Books To Remember of 2007, and Booklist Editor’s Choice for books of the year. Other writings include chapbooks for some of his albums, and essays for various music publications from Creem to Raygun. His essay, “Listerine: The Life and Opinions of Laurence Sterne,” published in Post Road #5, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Wesley Stace

His latest album, Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead recorded with The Minus Five, and featuring Mike Viola, Kelly Hogan, Earl Slick, Steve Berlin and many others, was released in March 2009 by Popover Corps. His accompanying series of “Cabinet of Wonders” variety shows in Spring 2009 in New York City at Le Poisson Rouge includes appearances by Rosanne Cash, Graham Parker, Josh Ritter, Rick Moody, Colson Whitehead and Jonathan Ames.

John Wesley Harding/Wesley Stace is currently artist-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ, where he curates the Words & Music Festival.

Eugene Boris Mirman is a Russian-born American comedian, writer, and film maker, who is based in New York City. Mirman attended Lexington High School in Lexington, MA, and Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts.

Mirman has appeared on several TV shows, including Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Comedy Central Presents and Jump Cuts, VH1, Third Watch, Cartoon Network’s Home Movies, Cheap Seats, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil and more. He also played a spokes-potato on Food Network and other oddities on various programs. He served as producer for the Boston-area satirical newspaper The Weekly Week from 1997 to 1999.

Eugene Mirman

In 2004 he released The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman, a CD/DVD on Suicide Squeeze Records. The album was voted one of the Best Albums of 2004 by both The Onion and Time Out New York. His second album, En Garde, Society was released by Sub Pop in 2006.

Mirman has appeared at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, Bumbershoot, and South by Southwest. His weekly standup-variety show Invite Them Up, which he co-produces with Bobby Tisdale and Holly Schlesinger, recently won a Nightlife Award.

Mirman, much like David Cross and Patton Oswalt, is known to often perform in rock clubs and theaters as opposed to traditional comedy clubs. Often touring the United States, Mirman occasionally opens for the comedy troupe Stella (former members of The State). He has opened for various bands such as The Shins and toured with Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, Gogol Bordello and Cake. Mirman also toured with Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford on the Comedians of Comedy tour.

Eugene Mirman

He has toured as an opener for Flight of the Conchords and with Andy Kindler and Marc Maron in Stand Uppity. He plays the character Eugene in the Flight of the Conchords HBO television series.

In early 2009, Mirman will release a satirical self-help book entitled The Will to Whatevs. He will also appear in Delocated on Adult Swim.


Read a review of a past Wes and Eugene show, complete with video here!

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